The center position has been a concern all year long for the Celtics (and longer come to think of it, but I'm trying to block out last year from my mind). So the team has been adding young big men with varying degrees of potential and hoping that some of them stick around for a while and maybe even contribute this year.
Stiemsma is the obvious success story, but when he had to leave the game early to tend to various injuries, it gave the other young big men a chance to do their thing. Add in the fact that Sean Williams was added to the team, and you can imagine that Hollins and JaJuan Johnson might have felt a little added incentive to play well. One responded with his best game of the year and the other didn't really play that well.
"It gave us comfort,’’ Rivers said. "Because [Hollins] played so well and played so hard, that’s great for us. He played more minutes and he played well, and that’s always good. "But listen, if that [Williams’s presence] is part of it, that’s good, too. If you’re not playing and a new guy comes in and you think he’s going to take your minutes, then you should play harder.
"It’s a man’s game. JaJuan [Johnson] didn’t have a great game [2 for 7, 4 points] and he’s feeling bad about himself, and I said, ‘JaJuan, I want to give you a hug, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be ready for Tuesday. You just have to build your mind back.’ ’’
Johnson is bound to have a bounce-back game soon and my hopes are highest for him, but I'll take it from wherever it comes. We can always use big men that can contribute.